Saturday, September 18, 2010


I have been afflicted with depression, chronic depression, since I was in my late teens.

(That's almost 50 years ago.)

Sometimes it's hardly present at all. I can do quite well, day to day. I can work creatively at a job. I can even blog.

Sometimes, though, it's very, very, very bad. Suicidally bad. I've never tried to kill myself. But I can understand how people could try, and succeed.

Often it's bad enough that it hurts, physically. My whole body hurts.

I've been physically and emotionally immobilized.

And I'm sure it has hurt my family.

Of course, I'm not alone in depression. One of the better known depressives was Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain during World War Two. He reportedly referred to it as a "black dog" (though at least one of his biographers claims Churchill never used the term). The matter never came to light, of course, when he was Conservative leader and PM. To have admitted something like that would have been political suicide, so strong were (and are) the biases against people with mental disabilities. But I have read there were many, many times when Churchill's condition was so bad — when he was so fearful and vulnerable — that he needed protection from the public eye. Family, friends, and colleagues provided that protection.

I haven't needed that kind of protection. Fortunately.

I have had medications which have helped; the quality of those medications has improved over the years. And I have had people to whom I could talk — like the family, friends, and colleagues who helped Churchill. But I have been terribly fearful and vulnerable.

But, even with help, there have been lots of times when life was very difficult.

This is harder to write than I had expected. So I'm going to quit, for now, right here.

But there is more; so very much more. And I will share, when I'm able to do that.


Natalie said...

Get it out, Bear!
Depression is anger turned inward, get it out. Your blog friends would not desert you.

Rob-bear said...

® Natalie: Thanks. Don't know where this is gong to go, but I'm going to stick with it.

Snowbrush said...

Hey, Rob-bear. Natalie is right in that people can hear about depression easily enough. Anger is harder, however, and I'm not sure you can have the former without the latter.

Rob-bear said...

® Snowbrush: Interesting that you should mention anger, as did Natalie.
That is certainly part of where this is going to go.

Jean said...

I know how it is to suffer from depression. Not because I am a sufferer but because I am married to one.

So you have my sympathy and understanding. I think you would be surprised how much of that there is out there. There's lots of prejudice and misunderstanding, too, which doesn't help a bit.

The Blog Fodder said...

I'll sure vouch for the anger part. If I am off my antidepressants, I either want to hide in the closet or rage at all the idiots in the world. The latter made it hard to hold a job working for government.

Let 'er rip, Bear. They can't fire you anymore. (Slaves have to be sold?)

Rob-bear said...

® Jean: Thank you for your support, and your candour. Merci, encore.

® BF: Maybe now that you're retired, you're in a position to "assist" the "idiots" of the world. Who better than you to do that?
And it's OK to come out of the closet. NO, not that closet; the closet where depressive people hide when they really cannot face the world.

Anonymous said...

My uncle had depression but I didn't really understand what he went through. It is something you need to deal with and something others can help you deal with. I would imagine not something to bottle up.

Take care,
CJ xx

potsoc said...

Hi there, depression is very common and not to be ashamed of. At times, letting out some anger is helpful and is not to be repressed.
As for Churchill, I guess his correspondance with his Clementine moust have been worth many pills.
May you blog heartily.

Wendy said...

You are here to feel, so feel is safe are you. Sending protection as you journey into this next stage, which you are destined for...

Amanda Summer said...

it's brave of you to write about this, and i agree with natalie, that it's also therapeutic to do so. you've got a loving community of folks out here who hear you.

blessings to you as you work through this process and see where it takes you.


French Fancy... said...

Call this therapy, Rob - let all the angst and torment out and see it in black and white, out there on your blog. A place where your friends, us lot who care about you come and share in your life. It's a safe place this place - just type it all and let it flow.

Hugs, bear one

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Your authenticity and courage are an absolute inspiration, dear Bear! I'm so glad you are writing this! I know that many need to know they are not alone! You are such a caring and compassionate person! I'm proud to call you my friend! Bear hugs, Janine

Rob-bear said...

Thank you so much, friends, for all the kind thoughts.

® CJ: You've seen depression in your family, and you have some understanding. Thanks. And, yes, it's best not bottled up.

® potsoc: Common, and anger. More on that, later.

® Wendy: Yes, feeling away, and less cautiously.

® amanda: Not sure if this is brave or ill-advised, but I'm doing it anyhow. And I'm very much aware of the loving community around me, without which I would not attempt this.

® FF…: Therapy, but cheap therapy.
Strangely, I'm reminded here of a definition of "friend." A friend is someone who demands that you become fully who you are, but leaves you with all your freedom intact. Seems like a contradiction, until you catch the nuances.

® S&S: Well, if this is helpful to some, that's great. As to "authenticity and courage," I'm wondering if this is just a bit nutsy and exhibitionistic. But I'm committed to this and I'll carry on.

Anonymous said...

POOP! My comment didn't print. Now I'm depressed.

ain't for city gals said...

I am interested in reading more posts about this...this surely must have been even more difficult early on before the newer drugs and such...